Aylestone | Castle | City Centre | Clarendon Park | Crown Hills | De Montfort University | Evington Road | Eyres Monsell | Wycliffe | Gilmorton | Highfields
Knighton | Knighton Fields | Leicester University | Leicester Royal Infirmary | Saffron | Spinney Hills | St. Andrews | St. Matthews | St. Peters | Stoneygate
It's a busy schedule working as the MP for Leicester South. We try to make sure we keep everyone up-to-date with important issues, topics that affect constituents. We do this with regular updates on the website, including this page, where we highlight news items.
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Jon Ashworth MP hits out at pension reforms as Leicester women are set to lose out

Tuesday January 29 2013

Recent research reveals the true cost of last week's pension's reforms to over 1,500 women in Leicester who are set to lose out.

1,700 local women born in 1952 and 1953 will not be eligible for the single tier pension since they are due to retire in 2017, before the state pension reforms come into effect. Men born during the same period, however, will qualify.

The news comes after the Government claimed that "we have to be absolutely transparent [about who will lose]” yet it failed to make clear the full consequences of the planned reforms.

The unravelling of this latest Pensions announcement is the second time this government has been caught trying to hide the full impact of its changes for pensioners following the Granny Tax.


Jon said: “Ministers have been caught red-handed hiding the truth on pension's reforms. This government's pension's changes have hit hardworking women in my Constituency and in Leicester time and again and these reforms are no different.

In Leicester South 500 women will be nearly £2,000 worse off compared to men, a figure that rises to 1,700 for the whole of the City. But instead of being honest with the women that will lose out the government has tried to bury the truth.”

“Once again Ministers have been caught with their hands in pensioners' pockets – it's about time this government had the decency to be honest about who will lose out under their plans.”

Jon Ashworth MP, Labour MP for Leicester South, hits out at pension reforms as Leicester women are set to lose out

Jon Ashworth MP out and about in Aylestone Park

Saturday January 26 2013

Jon Ashworth MP was joined by Councillors and local activists in Aylestone Park on Saturday 26 January.

Jon said:“It is important that I am out and about in my Constituency on regular basis, even when it is cold and there is snow on the ground, letting people know that I am on their side in these tough times.”



Speaking after the event, Jon commented:“Different issues were raised by local residents and it was good saying hello to many more of my constituents. If there are any particular areas people want me to visit during the year then please contact my office on 251 1927.”

Photo right: Jon with local activists and Councillors
Click photo for enlargement
Jon with local activists and Councillors

Jon Ashworth MP welcomes Leicester Child Poverty Commission's actions to help the poorest households

Friday January 25 2013

In Leicester, more than 26,000 Leicester children and their families are estimated to live in poverty. According to the government's definition, these are families whose income is less than 60% of the national median income. This is around £357 for a couple with two children.

Jon stated:“The Leicester Child Poverty Commission has set out a wide range of recommendations on what can be done to help the poorest households in the City, and tackle the growing problem of child poverty.”

“The fact that so many of our children are growing up in poverty is a national disgrace. The range of initiatives and measures to be introduced by the Commission are a positive step forward, but it is vital that the government introduces measures to aid economic growth and job creation – the availability of well paid work is key to reducing child poverty

.”Proposals for a citywide network of food banks, neighbourhood credit union satellite bases, and low cost council loans for the purchase of essential goods are among the proposals announced by the Commission which offer immediate, practical support for families, as well as longer-term actions and proposals for policy change.


The 66 proposals are set out in five categories: early years, schools and education; income, personal finance and housing; health and wellbeing; economy, work and transport; policy and governance.

Leicester's Deputy City Mayor Cllr Rory Palmer established the Leicester Child Poverty Commission in June 2011. Its members are drawn from the public sector, voluntary sector, business, academia, and politics and include Jon Ashworth.

Councillor Palmer said: “Figures tell us that at the very least we have 26,000 children and young people growing up in poverty in the city and this is predicted to rise significantly when the full impact of the government's welfare benefit changes are felt after April."

“This makes the need for action even more urgent. We are determined to see these proposals put into action, and making them happen will now be the focus of our work."

“Our recommendations are not a wish-list that can't be afforded. They are feasible and practical and would make a real contribution to tackling the worst impacts of child poverty in Leicester.”

Jon Ashworth MP welcomes Leicester Child Poverty Commission's actions to help the poorest households

The Commission will hold its second annual conference in May this year, when it will call on local, regional and national organisations to help implement the recommendations.

It will track their implementation and will publish a further report before May 2014 assessing the impact of public spending cuts, welfare benefit changes and the wider economic situation.

More details about child poverty in Leicester and the work of the commission is on the city council's website at www.leicester.gov.uk/childpovertycommission

Also, you can download the Report here...

Jon Ashworth MP visits a local charity tackling youth unemployment

Friday January 25 2013

Jon visited Pedestrian on January 25 to meet young people who are involved in the creative education and skills-based workshops. Pedestrian was established in 1998 and offers support to hard-to-reach young people in the East Midlands.

Jon popped in a project that helps 14 to 18 year olds acquire new skills and experience.

Speaking before the event, Jon said: “I'm really looking forward to sitting in on one of Pedestrian's workshops. Unemployment is a big problem in Leicester, and for a long time it's been difficult for people to get jobs. Young people are often told they don't have the necessary experience or qualifications to secure a job, so I'm excited to see what alternative opportunities Pedestrian offers.”

Pedestrian was recently awarded a grant of £9,920 from the Royal Bank of Scotland's Group Inspiring Enterprise Initiative. This funding will offer tailored business courses to 16 and 17 year olds, giving young people the skills they need to start up their own businesses straight after leaving school.


Jon commented: “If young people do start their own businesses, with the right skills and knowledge, there may be further opportunities which will boost our local economy. At the end of last year there were 290 long-term unemployed young people in the City, which was over 200 more than in January 2012. So projects like those at Pedestrian are important.”

Samantha Whelan, Director at Pedestrian, said: “Many of the young people we work with are disheartened with opportunities available to them, particularly as most have struggled to engage in learning for most of their secondary education. This puts them at a big disadvantage when it comes to applying for further education, apprenticeships and jobs.”

“All our projects have personalised learning, creativity and innovation at their heart, and many also include qualifications. The Inspiring Enterprise grant will equip 10 young people with the tools and experience to create their own opportunities and empower them to craft their own futures.”

Jon, Samantha Whelan (Director), Gra Roberts (Lead Tutor) and Richard
Samantha Whelan, Jon and Gra Roberts
Photo top; Jon, Samantha Whelan (Director), Gra Roberts (Lead Tutor) and Richard photo bottom; Samantha Whelan, Jon and Gra Roberts
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Jon Ashworth MP visits Madani High School to discuss lowering the voting age to 16 after House of Commons debate

Friday January 25 2013

Jon visited Madani High School as part of the pupils' Citizenship Course. There was a question and answer session on various constitutional and political issues, with the main topic of discussion being the question of lowering the voting age to 16.

The visit comes after a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday 24 January, where MPs debated whether or not the voting age should be lowered. The current age at which people are allowed to start voting in elections in the UK is 18, but there has long been a debate about lowering the voting age to 16.

Jon said: “Lowering the voting age to 16 is clearly something these pupils are passionate about. It's an issue that affects them directly, and I was very interested to hear what they had to say.”

“In November I visited Crown Hills Community College as part of Parliament Week, which promotes political discussion and participation amongst young people. During that visit, I was able to talk to pupils about a number of current affairs that are important to them, and during this visit I got to hear more about young people's views.”


Jon with Mr Saqub Sheikh (centre) and more pupils from Madani High School

“Young people are often accused of not taking an interest in political affairs, and I think their participation in school discussions such as these counters such claims. This provided them with a great platform to air their views, and I really enjoyed the event.”

Mr Saqub Sheikh, Head Teacher of the school, commented: “Our school supports our students in becoming active global citizens by providing opportunities to develop their wider responsibilities. The discussion on lowering the age of voting is a natural progression as our students are very interested in what happens on a local, national and international level.”

Jon answering questions from Pupils at Madani High School, with Headteacher Mr Saqub Sheikh (second from right) and teacher Mr Imtiaz Patel (third right)
Jon answering questions about lowering the voting age to 16
Photos left;, Jon with Mr Saqub Sheikh (centre) and more pupils from Madani High School, photo top; Jon answering questions from Pupils at Madani High School, with Headteacher Mr Saqub Sheikh (second from right) and teacher Mr Imtiaz Patel (third right), photo bottom; Jon answering questions about lowering the voting age to 16
Click any photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP backs campaign to tackle hunger trap

Wednesday January 23 2013

Jon Ashworth MP joined MPs and Peers of all parties in the Palace of Westminster for the launch of a major new campaign by 100 of Britain's leading development charities and faith groups.

The event was hosted by the Speaker John Bercow and newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and featured speeches from the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg; the Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband; the International Development Secretary, Justine Greening MP; and the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander.

‘Enough Food for Everyone IF' is the largest coalition of its kind in the UK since Make Poverty History in 2005. The campaign warns that in a world where there is enough food for everyone, the scandal of children growing up hungry also imposes a grave economic burden on the developing world, costing £78 billion over the next 15 years.

Jon said: “I'm delighted to be backing the Enough Food for Everyone IF campaign – we really do have the opportunity to make 2013 an historic year by showing global leadership and delivering clear plans to tackle hunger and its root causes at the G8 and beyond.”

As well as the 937 million children and young people (aged 15-40) whose life chances will be permanently damaged by the impact of childhood hunger by 2025, the report estimates that malnutrition will be costing developing countries an annual $125 billion (£78 billion) in lost economic output by 2030.


Great strides have been made in reducing poverty and 14,000 fewer children are dying each day than in 1990. But hunger is threatening to reverse these achievements. Hardworking poor farmers, especially women and their children, vulnerable and ordinary people everywhere face the highest food prices in a generation. In the UK, the numbers of people needing to use food banks has risen sharply. Climate change is making things even worse.

Yet no one need be hungry or malnourished. If we act to ensure small scale farmers can keep hold of their land to grow food; if we crack down tax dodgers depriving poor countries of resources to ensure the right to food; if we work for global agreement on new sources of climate finance; if all this is underpinned by transparency, rule of law and strong institutions; and if we fulfil our commitments of aid to developing countries and invest enough in agriculture and nutrition – then the world has a chance to end the scandal of hunger.

Taking action on the ‘corporation tax gap' by multinational companies alone would enable developing countries to raise enough revenue every day to save the lives of 230 children under 5 currently dying because of malnutrition.

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Jon Ashworth MP joined MPs and Peers of all parties in the Palace of Westminster for the launch of a major new campaign by 100 of Britain's leading development charities and faith groups.

Ben Jackson, Chief Executive of Bond and chair of the campaign, said: “We should be proud of the great progress we are making as a world to reduce poverty, but it is still the reality that in a world where there is enough food for everyone, 1 in 8 people go hungry every day.

This is nothing short of a scandal. We need a concerted effort from governments, civil society and philanthropists to tackle the root causes of this problem and together to ensure that no child has to go hungry."

Join us at www.enoughfoodif.org

Click photo for enlargement

Jon Ashworth MP stands up to prejudice by signing Holocaust Memorial Day Book of Commitment

Thursday January 17 2013

Today, Jon Ashworth MP signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day and honouring those who died during the Holocaust.

Sunday 27 January will mark the 68th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history.

In the weeks running up to the day, the Holocaust Educational Trust placed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, giving MPs the chance to honour those who were persecuted and killed during the Holocaust and encouraging constituents to work together to combat prejudice and racism today.

In signing the Book of Commitment, Jon Ashworth, paid tribute to those who perished during the Holocaust and honoured the extraordinary Holocaust survivors who work tirelessly to educate young people about what they endured, through the Holocaust Educational Trust's Outreach programme.


In the weeks leading up to and after Holocaust Memorial Day, thousands of commemorative events will be arranged by schools, faith groups and community organisations across the country, remembering all the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides.

This year, people will also be encouraged to honour those communities that have been destroyed by genocide and reflect on the importance of coming together to oppose prejudice and hatred.

Jon said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity to remember the victims of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides. Having visited Auschwitz-Birkenau last February I saw for myself the full extent of the industrialised nature of the Holocaust. I encourage all constituents to mark the day and to join members of community in the fight against prejudice and intolerance.”

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “We are proud that Jon is supporting Holocaust Memorial Day this year. It is vitally important that we both remember and learn from the appalling events of the Holocaust – as well as ensuring that we continue to challenge all forms of hatred and bigotry.”

Photo of Jon signing the Book of Commitment

Photo of Jon signing the Book of Commitment

Click photo for enlargement

Make sure you receive your cold weather payments

Tuesday January 15 2013

Jon Ashworth MP is encouraging Leicester residents to check that they have received their cold weather payments.

A Department of Work and Pensions Cold Weather Payment was triggered yesterday, 14 January 2013, for eligible residents in the LE1 , LE2, LE3 and LE5 areas of Leicester.

Jon said: “With the very cold weather this week many people would have had the heating on more than usual, so it is important that those who are entitled to receive help actually do.”


Cold Weather Payments are made to certain people who receive Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather.

Jon commented: “These payments were increased to £25 per week by the Labour Government, which will help people pay their gas and electric bills especially with the recent rises in energy bills.”

“Cold Weather Payments are automatically paid to people who qualify for them, but it is worth checking that you have received the payments."

If you think that you may be entitled and have not received a payment then contact the Pension Service, Disability and Carers Service or Jobcentre Plus.

Jon Ashworth MP calls Highfields summit on benefit cuts following Tuesday's vote on cuts to benefits and tax credits

Friday January 11 2013

On Tuesday 8 January Jon voted against the Government's Welfare Benefits Uprating Bill that will deliver a real terms cuts to benefits and tax credits.

Jon said: “This week in the Commons I voted against Government proposals to cut in real terms the tax credits and benefits that thousands of people across Leicester rely on to help make ends meet.”

“Expert analysis from the Resolution Foundation Think Tank shows that 68% of households affected by the Government's cuts are in work, and that a typical couple with two children, with the single earner being a primary school teacher earning £600 per week, will lose £424 a year by 2015.”

“These cuts will have a huge impact on thousands of families across Leicester many of whom are already struggling because of the current economic climate. It's a particularly unfair cut when the government is set to hand millionaires a massive tax cut later this year.”

“I'm particularly worried about how local people will cope with these cuts and further welfare changes in April of this year, so I've called a summit of agencies and community groups working in Highfields to discuss the impact of the changes on local people.”

“I'm grateful to The Race Equality Council for helping to organise this meeting. In April the ‘bedroom tax' is introduced, Council Tax Benefit is abolished and there will no longer be Crisis Loans and Community Care Grants from the Social Fund. These changes will hit the people of Highfields and all of Leicester.”

“All agencies need to come together to raise awareness of these cuts and changes and to work together to mitigate the adverse consequences. I hope that the meeting on Friday will go some way to meeting this aim.”

Click any photo for enlarged view

Pamela Campbell-Morris (from Akwaaba Ayeh Mental Health Advocacy Project), Jon, Chino Cabon (The Race Equality Council)

Jon Ashworth MP, Chino Cabon (The Race Equality Council), Nik Dean (Medway School), Cllr Mohammed Dawood (Ward Councillor)
Top photo: Pamela Campbell-Morris (from Akwaaba Ayeh Mental Health Advocacy Project), Jon, Chino Cabon (The Race Equality Council), bottom photo: Jon, Chino Cabon (The Race Equality Council), Nik Dean (Medway School), Cllr Mohammed Dawood (Ward Councillor)
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